Palace assures quarantine violators will be prosecuted

Malacañang on Friday assured that violators of quarantine protocols would be prosecuted as the coronavirus pandemic lingers.

Cabinet Secretary and acting presidential spokesperson Karlo Nograles made the statement amid reports that a returning Filipina from the United States breached quarantine protocols and tested positive for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) days after she was seen at a Makati City bar on December 23.

“We will not hesitate to prosecute those who are violating the law. Talagang po-prosecute namin ‘yan (We would definitely prosecute them). Hindi natin tatantanan ‘yan (We won’t let this slide. This is a public health emergency,” Nograles said in his final Palace press briefing for 2021.

Nograles stressed the need for the public to follow health protocols for “everybody’s protection and safety”, noting that the quarantine violators would not get away with impunity.

“Anyone who violates, the law will catch up with you. Huwag ninyo subukan (Don’t even try), please,” Nograles said.

Nograles said the Philippine National Police’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group is among the agencies conducting the “necessary investigation and fact-finding”.

He reminded that it is the responsibility of everyone, whether the international travelers or the implementing quarantine facilities, to make sure that there will be no violation of the health measures.

“All possible sanctions, violation of the Notifiable Diseases Act, [any] violation as prescribed dun sa mga agreements natin sa (in our agreements with the) quarantine facilities, isolation facilities. May pinirmahan naman ang mga ‘yan at alam naman po nila kung ano ‘yung mga (they have signed it and they know the possible) sanctions they could face,” he said.

‘Omicron Girl’

Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año earlier said the violator may have transmitted the virus to about 15 people.

She was identified as Gwyneth Anne Chua in the show-cause order issued to Berjaya Makati Hotel, located along Makati Avenue in Barangay Poblacion, by DOT-National Capital Region Officer-in-Charge Sharlene Batin.

Netizens have started calling Chua “Poblacion Girl” and “Omicron Girl”, with most posts labeling her as selfish, irresponsible, and self-centered.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said in a radio interview Thursday that the hotel initially covered for the girl, saying she was in isolation the whole time, but the agency received evidence from Chua’s fellow partygoers who testified they were with her.

Romulo-Puyat said the violator eventually admitted skipping quarantine.

Although the Palace has given the Department of Justice (DOJ) a free hand in filing cases, Secretary Menardo Guevarra said they will leave the issue first to law enforcers and the courts, if necessary.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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